A rare black dog called a Xoloitzcuintli is standing in a field.

5 Rare Dog Breeds We Bet You Never Knew About


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If you’re a dog lover with a penchant for the extraordinary, you’re in for a treat. In this paw-some corner of the internet, we’re going to explore our unique and lesser-known canine companions by looking at rare dog breeds you’re likely completely unaware of. From the fascinating Norwegian Lundehund to the Mexican hairless Xoloitzcuintli – we bet you’ve never even heard of most of these stunning canines.

So, let’s bound right in!

A rare brown and white Xoloitzcuintli sitting on a rock in the mountains.

1. Rare dog breed: Norwegian Lundehund

Norwegian Lunde-what? Often called the “Puffin Dog,” the Lundehund is a fascinating breed hailing from Norway. These pint-sized pups have some extraordinary features that set them apart from the canine crowd.

Unique physique

First, let’s talk toes. Lundehunds are famous for having not the usual five toes per paw, but six toes on each. This unique extra toe helps them grip rocky cliffs with ease. You see, their original job was to hunt puffins, those cute seabirds that nest on sheer cliffs. With their extra toes and nimble feet, Lundehunds could navigate these treacherous terrains like seasoned mountaineers.

Speaking of their toes, Lundehunds are also known for their flexibility. Their joints are incredibly supple, allowing them to bend their heads backward until it touches their spine. This incredible flexibility helped them reach and extract puffins from their cliffside nests.

Personality-wise, Lundehunds are known for their independent spirits. They can be a bit aloof, but that doesn’t mean they lack charm. These dogs are also playful and can make lively companions for those who appreciate their quirky nature.


Norwegian Lundehunds are really rare. In fact, they’re considered one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. Their numbers have dwindled over the years, making them a unique and endangered breed that deserves protection and preservation.

At the time of writing, you can expect to pay around $1,080 to $2,025 AUD for a Lundehund – if you’re lucky enough to live in Norway (they’re not typically available in Australia).

A rare Xoloitzcuintli dog is standing in a field.

2. Rare dog breed: Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo)

Now, let’s introduce you to the Xoloitzcuintli, often called the “Xolo” for short. This intriguing breed known as the Mexican Hairless Dog is as unique as they come.


Originating from Mexico, the Xoloitzcuintli has a history dating back over 3,000 years. They were cherished by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans as sacred companions and were believed to possess healing powers. These dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, catering to various lifestyles and living spaces.

Hairless coat

The most striking feature of the Xolo is their hairless coat, although a coated variety also exists. Their skin can vary from smooth to slightly wrinkled, and they come in various colours. Due to their lack of fur, they are well-suited for people with allergies, as they produce fewer allergenic proteins.

If you’re intrigued by hairless pets, check out these 5 hairless cat breeds.


In terms of temperament, the Xoloitzcuintli is known for its loyalty and affection towards its human family. They can be a bit reserved around strangers but tend to be devoted and protective. They’re also quite intelligent and can be trained to be well-behaved companions.

One thing to note is that these dogs are not cold-weather enthusiasts due to their lack of fur, so they appreciate cozy blankets or sweaters during chilly months. In warm climates, they thrive thanks to their natural heat regulation.


In recent years, the Xoloitzcuintli dog breed has gained popularity not only as a pet but also as a show dog and therapy animal. They have a unique and striking appearance that turns heads wherever they go.

Those looking to become the pet parent of a Xolo can expect to pay between $1,350 to $4,050 AUD at the time of writing.

A rare Xoloitzcuintli dog, with white and brown fur, looking at the camera.

3. Rare dog breed: Catalburun

Moving on from the Xoloitzcuintli, let’s introduce you to the Catalburun, a truly unique and fascinating breed.

The nose knows

Also known as the Turkish Pointer, these pups hails from Turkey and are instantly recognisable by their distinctive feature: a split or “forked” nose. It’s a real head-turner, and you won’t find many dogs with this quirky trait.

These dogs are prized for their exceptional hunting abilities, particularly when it comes to tracking game birds like partridge. Their keen sense of smell and impressive agility make them invaluable to hunters.

Prized pups

Catalburuns are super rare, even in their native Turkey. Their distinctive feature has led to high demand, and responsible breeding is crucial to preserve the breed’s health and unique characteristics.

In fact, they’re so rare there’s no real data on how much one could cost – let’s just say it’s likely a pretty penny!


In addition to their unique nose, Catalburuns have a striking appearance. They typically have a short, dense coat and a strong, athletic build. Their ears are set high and are often folded, adding to their distinctive charm.

Temperament-wise, Catalburuns are known for their intelligence and loyalty. They form strong bonds with their families and are protective by nature, making them excellent watchdogs.

A rare Xoloitzcuintli standing in a grassy field.

4. Rare dog breed: Bergamasco Shepherd

Next up, a seriously fluffy pup!

Originating from the Alpine region of Bergamo in Italy, the Bergamasco Shepherd is a breed that stands out in the canine kingdom, primarily due to its extraordinary coat. This unique coat is made up of three types of hair – an undercoat, a mid-layer of hair, and a topcoat, which naturally forms into mats or cords as the dog grows.

The Bergamasco’s distinctive coat serves a practical purpose. It provides insulation from harsh weather conditions, keeps them warm in the winter, and offers protection from sunburn in the summer. These mats also make them nearly impervious to the bites of ticks and other pests.


In terms of temperament, Bergamascos are known for their intelligence and loyalty. They are calm, gentle, and affectionate with their families. These dogs are excellent guardians, as their protective nature makes them vigilant watchdogs.

Bergamascos are also highly adaptable and can thrive in various living environments, although they do enjoy an active lifestyle with regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Special care

However, you won’t be surprised to learn that owning a Bergamasco Shepherd comes with a unique grooming responsibility. Their distinctive coat requires proper care to prevent matting, which means regular brushing and maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition.

At the time of writing, the Bergamasco Shepherd can cost between $2,700 and $4,725 AUD.

A white Otterhound dog of a rare breed standing in the grass near bushes.

5. Rare dog breed: Otterhound

Originating from the United Kingdom, the Otterhound is a breed with a rich history. They were originally bred for one specific purpose: hunting otters. With their webbed feet and keen sense of smell, they were the ideal companions for this challenging task.

One of the most striking features of the Otterhound is its shaggy, waterproof coat. This distinctive coat helped protect them from the elements while they worked tirelessly by the water’s edge.

That said, today’s Otterhound owners will need to commit to regular grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best.

Nice by nature

In terms of temperament, Otterhounds are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They’re generally good with children and get along well with other dogs. While they’re friendly, they can also be a bit stubborn, so consistent training is essential.

They do need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy, so an active lifestyle with lots of outdoor adventures is ideal for these hounds.

Otterhounds are considered a very rare breed today. Their numbers have dwindled, and they’re considered vulnerable, making them a unique and a treasured find for dog enthusiasts. At the time of writing, the Otterhound costs between $2,025 and $4,050 AUD.

More dog breeds to know

Xoloitzcuintli, Otterhound, Bergamasco … have these interesting pups made you want to know more about dog breeds? We’ve got plenty of interesting breed content, just check out the below:

And speaking of pet personalities – have you ever wondered what dog or cat breed YOU’RE most like? Find out in our super fun pet personality quiz. Click below …

Insurance for your one-of-a-kind pup

In our eyes, all dogs are special and rare in their own way! Pet insurance can give you a soft landing when your wonderfully unique pup (or old-timer) gets a bit too adventurous. Or even when they don’t – illnesses and other mishaps can crop up at any time and costs thousands to diagnose and treat.

Check out our dog insurance plans and consider bounding into cover before any pre-existing conditions emerge, as insurers don’t cover those.

Is it time to explore tops cover for your tops dog? Click below to start today.

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